Monday 31 October 2011

The Return of the Saxons

It has been over 1000 years since the granddaughter of King Alfred, Princess Edith, Married Otto I Holy Roman Emperor. Her remains were recently found in Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt. Today there was a return visit from Magdeburg to London, by the board supporting external trade for the Local Chamber of Commerce.

I had been invited to give a more light-hearted presentation to the group. This was followed by Lesley Hill, Geraldine Williams of MAMMALcreate, an innovative marketing led design company.

Whilst we were in London England, the meeting was held in the very Scottish Caledonian Club, with gentleman in kilts, affording a great opportunity to introduce the guests to the complexities of the British Nations.

My presentation covered in brief (also see slideshow above)

  • British history and culture
  • The British economy Perceptions of Germany
  • Some Case studies
  • A practical session on Business Introductions
  • Staying in touch after first contact
  • The market assistance we could provide

Lesley and Geraldine followed with an unusual question and answer session. The aim was for the attendees to define the quality of their communication within the UK market, so that their launches would be targeted to achieve their desired objectives.

The case studies shown picked up the emotional elements that truly reflected the businesses; from a sixth form college, a design company through to a baby and children's safety swimwear provider. This was to the mutual satisfaction of both the company's teams and their customers. The latter associated with the brands and bought into them.

The Saxons successfully mastered the challenges that we put to them!

For us, as the UK participants, this was an interesting and productive afternoon and it also gave us insights into the Magdeburg businesses attending.

For more information about business opportunities by collaborating with companies from the region of Saxony Anhalt, contact:

Suzanne Doerrwand at
or call her on +49 391 5693 138.

Lesley Hill of MAMMALcreate can be reached

Entering a new market requires persistence

Entering a new dental market requires persistence, something that Ulrich Heker of TEETH”R”US has demonstrated – and it is slowly paying dividends, as we found at this year's BDTA exhibition at the NEC.

As a qualified and experienced Dental Technician in with a business based in Germany, his expertise is in attachments and telescopic crowns – intermediate techniques between plain prosthetics and dental implants that are an ideal way for a private practice to expand their portfolio. Yet these methods are still practically unknown in the UK.

I helped Ulrich begin to tackle this gap in local knowledge by publishing educational articles in UK magazines such as The GDP, Dental Tribune and The Technologist over the past year. Articles that have found resonance further afield with requests to translate and reprint as far away as China.

Manning the stand Y06 at the BDTA Exhibition at the NEC this year, we were now visited by a number of dentists with their case notes and casts to catch up on the opportunity to discuss past, present and future work with his lab. Taking a long term view was bearing fruit.

Ulrich had invited me to join the stand to give language support over the three days of the exhibition. I joined a team of five that included Ulrich Heker, fellow dental technician Thomas Loehre, Klaus Viesteg, a dentist based in Northern Ireland and Andrea Heker, who ensured that the stand was provided with all the notes, leaflets and that any appropriate dental models were immediately to hand as we dealt with the flood of visitors.

Thursday started relatively quietly, which allowed the team to mesh, so that by Saturday we were able to work seamlessly; dealing with simple enquiries and then passing on to the relevant expert for the questions arising. It was also lovely to see Marie-Theres Luetje, Handwerkskammer Duesseldorf, when she dropped by, as she had supported Ulrich's planning and preparation for this and previous exhibitions.

Ulrich had taken a lot of time to provide interest at the stand – good visual examples on a banner, a glass case with key models and Thomas demonstrating precision milling - these all attracted dentists and other professionals.

The joker in the pack was an inspired little sculpture, caricaturing a benevolent dentist cleaning the dentures of a knitting old woman seated on a dentist's chair and her cat on her lap. Andrea had found the gem that caught the eye of the passers-by, raised a smile and opened conversations.

Ulrich's repeated visits to Birmingham meant that I, as a Brit, happily gave him the lead to show us the sights. We saw the picturesque canals, found good eateries and marvelled at the Broad Street clubbing scene in the evenings as we relaxed after our busy days.

Have a look at the following links: 

Wonder what dental telescopes and attachments are?

Interested in the technical publications – downloadable as PDFs?

Some quirky pictures showing the effort that others made at the BDTA.

Friday 7 October 2011

Not a Who Done It, A Why Done It

I had the pleasure of talking to Roger Purssord, author of "The Blue Box", at the Huntingdon Indoor Bowls Club.  I recently finished reading his book, hardly being able to put it down!

It is a gritty crime thriller about a very nasty piece of work, Justin, who has ruined the lives of many families, including the main character, an unwilling participant, who's young son was a victim of Justin's predatory activities.

The story, I won't give it away, has many twists and turns and a satisfyingly realistic knowledge of the police investigative process - and it keeps you guessing right till the end.

Roger was telling me that the story appeared to have a life of its own as he wrote it, with characters and plots emerging as his subconsciousness revealed a darker creative side!

As a publisher, I get to see a number of books and I honestly regret that Roger had already published it elsewhere as it would have been a worthy, quality addition to my own company's portfolio.

If you want to find out more - or buy a copy of Roger Purssord's book, "The Blue Box", contact him on

Wednesday 5 October 2011

To Have Vision and Foresight - What you need in the current depression!

From Wordle-images

Another conversation today is with Carl Suffield of Praescio. What the hell does that mean? was my question! "To Have Vision and Foresight!" Was Carl's answer. As someone who has worked in investment and retail banking, Carl definitely needs to know how to apply these in the current economic climate. The real benefit is applying these skills for his clients.

A typical situation is his work for Donovan & Dunne Ltd, a cleaning company. They are looking for improvements in the review of their cash flow and provide simple financial forecasting. The benefits Carl can bring to the company will be the expansion of the most important aspect of any business, their vital current customer base, as well as attracting future clients. They will also be looking to enhance their service level and quality even further.

In these cash strapped times, having a clear immediate overview of your company's finances ensures you keep out of the red. The other advantage is that you can then see which areas to develop further.

It sounds so simple, but sometimes it helps to have someone like Carl Suffield of Praescio to see the broader picture. His clients comment was "It helps me see the elephant instead of the grey!"

Contact Carl Suffield via his LinkedIn Profile

Helping small technology companies export to Germany with Cambridge TEC

From Wordle-images

With the world bemoaning the fact that we are not in a recession any-more but a depression, many would hunker down and sit tight until better time comes - or go under! The other alternative, and a philosophy that I find far more agreeable, is to see this as any challenging situation - a chance for new opportunities.
It is in this spirit that there is a meeting of the two doctors in the pleasant environs of Milton Country Park's Cafe Diem (with free WiFi).

Doctor Who? Well Dr Andrea Lorenz, who has just started her company Cambridge TEC (short for Technology Export Communication). As a linguist (she speaks English, German perfectly, conversationally in Italian, Danish and French) Andrea is originally from Germany and has adopted the UK as her home for the past 12 years, Andrea aims to assist UK technology SMEs in making a market entry into the German speaking world (which includes Austria and Switzerland too).

This is a nice counterpoint to my current activities, which is assisting predominantly German businesses find contacts in the UK, so we had a common base.

Why Germany? Germany is in the centre of Europe, it is the centre for trade fairs and it is the most active and successful economy in the EU, riding out the storm by actively promoting it's links with markets abroad.

Andrea has worked in technology and product innovation, for example with Healthcare, Food Safety, Smart Materials, with companies such as Innovia Technology Ltd., Cambridge IC and Sensotec.

With her own company, Cambridge TEC, she is offering targeted and bespoke service from introductions to on site trade fair support. What does this actually mean? Well a recent example was an excursion to Nuremberg, assisting Cambridge IC at the annual Sensor + Test Trade Fair, one of the biggest trade shows in the sector with around 600 exhibitors in 2011. Tasks included Press Releases, assisting in the stetting up of the stand and then being a proactive representative for the company, helping attract interested parties.

Andrea Lorenz's Cambridge TEC is "Translating aspiration into Achievement" for her clients. Our current conversation is finding many complementaries with Milton Contact.